Worn-out hoses make it difficult for firefighters to do their job

2017-09-01 14:43
Water can clearly be seen leaking from the fire hoses, due to the pipes being very old. (Susan Taljaard, Netwerk24)

Water can clearly be seen leaking from the fire hoses, due to the pipes being very old. (Susan Taljaard, Netwerk24)

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Bloemfontein - Plastic bags had to be wrapped around the worn-out hoses of the Welkom fire brigade on Thursday in a desperate attempt to put out a fire in a building in the city.

Susan Taljaard, a Freedom Front Plus councillor, says the pipes are so bad that more water leaks out than is sprayed. 

The firemen also don't have masks or other safety equipment and even the hydrants near the burning building weren't working, Netwerk24 reported.

Firefighters had to drive elsewhere every time they wanted to get water.

A fire broke out on Thursday at a building housing a business which does recycling. The plastic bags, paper and other waste caught fire very quickly, but Taljaard says they could fortunately get it under control.

"If it hadn't been for a private company, the building would have burnt down. Fortunately, the company, which does chemical spill clean-ups and renders other emergency services, was on the scene in a jiffy."

Only 2 fire engines

Taljaard said the Matjhabeng municipality - which includes Allandridge, Hennenman, Ventersburg, Virginia, Welkom and Odendaalsrus - has only two fire engines.

She says houses have burnt down in almost all of the towns because the municipally doesn't have a functioning fire service. Fire engines have to cover big distances to put out fires and that results in severe damage to property.

Taljaard said she'd brought the problems to the attention of the municipality on several occasions.

"Initially, all the fire engines were out of order because there supposedly wasn’t enough money to service them. Now they're fixed, but don't have water to fight the fires.

"Plastic bags are used to attach and hold together the fire hoses, but the little water that there is, leaks out and serves no purpose. This is absurd," she said.

The municipality couldn't be reached for comment.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  fires  |  local government

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